Our First Hundred Days

Today our new president took office. He’ll have four years to accomplish his goals, but first of all, he’ll have a hundred days. The famous “First 100 Days” is the inital judgment period for a president. And today as Barack Obama begins his term and his first hundred days, we complete our own first hundred days. That’s right, as of today, we’ve been on the road for one hundred days. So without further ado, here’s a review of what we’ve done in the past hundred days.

We have spent time in five countries: Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador.

We have ridden on over 75 buses, both local and long-distance, from over-crowded school bus to comfortable nearly fully reclining cama-class overnight buses.

We have been on 8 airplanes—seven for transport between locations (Seattle to Houston; Houston to Managua; Managua to Panama City; Panama City to Santiago; Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas; Lima to Cusco; Cusco to Lima) and one for a tour (Nazca).

We have hiked the 100-km extended version of the W at Torres del Paine and the 46-kilometer Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, along with many other kilometers on less well-known trails.

We have stayed at 43 different hostels, hostals, hosterias, hospedajes, and hotels.

We have lost one item: a headlamp on day one.

We have missed the announcement of two engagements and three pregnancies of friends.

We have eaten ice cream 17 times, the majority of these in Argentina.

We have eaten the best steak of our lives, a tenderloin so tender that our server cut it with a spoon at Viejo Jack in Salta.

We have eaten all things they tell you not to eat—unpeeled fruit, hamburgers from a street stand, salad, and water from the tap—and are no worse for the wear from it, aside from a few extra trips to the toilet of course.

We have read only 7 books—A Walk in the Woods, The Geography of Bliss, The House of the Spirits, Collapse, Astrid & Veronika, Best New American Voices 2007, and Far from the Madding Crowd—thanks primarily to the really bad taste of other South American travelers, which makes trading for a good book nearly impossible (expect a post on this soon!).

We have been to the self-proclaimed end of the world…from where we looked south and saw more land.

We have visited 11 national parks.

We have become nearly fluent in Spanish (Jeff) and sort of kind of competent (Theresa).

We have crossed borders via airplane, bus, collectivo taxi, and foot.

We have added the following stamps to our passports: 1 from Nicaragua, 6 from Chile, 3 from Argentina, 2 from Peru, and 1 from Ecuador, along with two stamps from Machu Picchu and one from the end of the world. 

We have on more occasions than is possible to count experienced the kindness of strangers, witnessed the commonality of people everywhere, and smiled in wonder, amazement, and joy at the beautiful world we live in.

In our opinion, our first hundred days have been a roaring success and we are looking forward to the hundreds of days remaining.

15 Replies to “Our First Hundred Days”

  1. There’s a big numerical clue in your post that hints at what may be your favorite country. I think the number is 17 and has something to do with the number of times you have enjoyed ice cream. Good Lordy.

    Sure, it’s only like 1 in every 6-ish days, but I think I’ve had ice cream 17 times during Bush’s last 4 years (to keep the political theme going).

    Best of luck on the next 100 days. If I do the math correctly, your next 100 days concludes at the end of April. Which pretty much tells me how much time I have left in this semester. I already feel stressed!

    And finally, I thought about y’alls wedding when they played that bad-ass Air/Simple Gifts piece at the inauguration.

  2. Nicely done – keeping track of all this, that is. 🙂 Only 7 books in 3 months? That you’ve got to increase.

    How the heck have you managed to determine how many buses you’ve been on in 100 days? However you did it … well done. I think you’ve got to slow down and smell the roses … it’s the journey that’s important, not the destination. 🙂

  3. If you haven’t passed by it yet, stay in Vilcabamba and go to the Izchaluma (spelled something like that) hostel. One of the better, cheaper places we have stayed at in South America. Cheers!

  4. 100 days. That is amazing!
    Leave it to you to track each and every detail.
    I think I’ll try to keep better stats on my next 100 days.
    They won’t be as interesting… I can assure you of that!
    Miss you guys!

  5. Congrats on your first 100 days! I’m so impressed at the detailed notes you guys keep of your trip. Best wishes for the next 100! Oh, and post more pictures. 🙂

  6. Okay, here’s how I know all these stats: I keep track of all the money we spend in a little notebook I carry with me. So if we eat icecream, my notebook will say something like $2=icecream. If we ride the bus, it says $15=bus to Quito. So I just have to go through the expenses notebook and note how many times we bought icecream, paid for bus tickets, etc.

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